I write to you all now to express my objection to Michael’s Notice of Motion 231/21 – Unreasonable Customer Conduct Policy – which is on the agenda for this week’s Council meeting.

I consider this matter to be of high importance to community members, and for this reason I have included our local media representatives on this communication in case they may feel this subject to be of interest to their readers.

In his NOM Michael makes unsubstantiated assertions, none of which he has as yet corroborated.

It is incumbent upon him to offer supporting evidence if his NOM is to be taken seriously when introduced at the meeting.

I have grave concern that should Councillors agree to introduce such a policy, then it might be used in an unreasonable manner in effort to stifle legitimate criticism of Bass Coast Shire Council and its Councillors.

I contend that Michael’s approach to this issue is completely flawed. For example, does Michael really believe that it is unreasonable for a community member not to accept Council decisions and recommendations in relation to complaints? That is an absurd proposition, and I would be stating as much if I were a sitting Councillor.

In the interest of transparency and community engagement it is imperative that, when considering Michael’s motion, each Councillor, along with Michael himself, fully explain and substantiate and back up with evidence their reasons and any claims made in support of his motion.

If any Councillor chooses to support Michael’s motion, then surely from good conscience they must address the following concerns:

* Michael’s claims of what ‘unreasonable conduct’ includes is broad and ill-defined, therefore Councillors must clearly explain and define to the community what Councillors consider to be unreasonable customer conduct

* Councillors must clearly explain what safeguards will be put in place to protect the community from misuse and abuse of this policy by any Councillor, Council employee, or Council contractor

* Councillors must clearly explain what investigation and interview processes will be used when assessing any claim of unreasonable customer conduct

* Councillors must clearly explain the disputes’ procedure that will apply when a community members is subjected to Michael’s proposed policy

* Councillors must clearly explain what are the intended penalties or restrictions to be imposed upon any community member deemed to have fallen foul of Michael’s proposed policy

* Councillors must clearly explain what right of appeal will be available to community members who are subjected to Michael’s proposed policy

* Councillors must clearly explain who will be judge, jury, and executioner when determining if unreasonable customer conduct has occurred

* Councillors must clearly explain what records it will keep with regard to claims that a community member is an unreasonable customer

* Councillors must clearly explain what compensation will be provided to community members who are falsely claimed to be an unreasonable customer

* Councillors must clearly explain what compensation will be provided to community members who are exonerated, either by Council or by another authority, of being an unreasonable customer

* Councillors must clearly explain what compensation will be provided to community members who are found to have been improperly treated under Michael’s proposed policy

In concluding I will add that it is my belief that any Councillor who truly values the right of reasonable freedom of expression, will shudder at the prospect of Michael’s motion getting up.

Kevin Griffin, Wonthaggi.